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No fans as Svitolina advances at Australian Open

The rally lasted 41 shots, with the players trading baseline groundstrokes for more than a minute, and when it ended, one person applauded.

The atmosphere was different for the sixth day of play Saturday at the Australian Open, with no fans to cheer for No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina as she advanced to the fourth round by beating No. 26 Yulia Putintseva, 6-4, 6-0.

Svitolina won their marathon rally early in the second set, and the majority of points after that. There was no crowd due to the start of a five-day lockdown imposed by the Victoria state government in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at a hotel.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva looks up while playing Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP PhotoHamish Blair)

Up to 30,000 fans daily — 50% of capacity — had been admitted on previous days.

Svitolina, a tour veteran from Ukraine who has won 66 Grand Slam matches, needs one more win to match her best showing in Melbourne. She was a semifinalist at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019.

Top-seeded Ash Barty of Australia was to play a night match Saturday against No. 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova. Three American women were on the schedule — No. 22 Jennifer Brady and two unseeded players, Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, left, plays Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The Australian Open continues but without crowds after the Victoria state government imposed a five-day lockdown starting Saturday in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at a quarantine hotel. (AP PhotoHamish Blair)

No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal was to continue his quest for a men’s-record 21st major title Saturday night against Cameron Norrie. Other men in third-round action included No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Matteo Berrettini and the last American on the men’s side, unseeded Mackenzie McDonald.

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Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic serves to compatriot Karolina Muchova during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.(AP PhotoAndy Brownbill)

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva hits a forehand to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP PhotoHamish Blair)